By Vina Medenilla
In a bid to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines, many areas, including the whole of Luzon have been put under extreme enhanced community quarantine. People have been asked to stay indoors, mass transportation has been halted, and commodities can only be transported if their drivers carry special permits.
Many people started panic-buying and hoarding food, alcohol, and other grocery items and grocery stores and supermarkets have been experiencing delays in replenishing their shelves as well.
In anticipation of what might happen when the outbreak continues to spread in the country, Precious Rivero and her husband Glenn, owners of Rustico Farm, thought of cleaning their backyard and planting more vegetables. Rustico farm is an urban edible garden that offers workshops on gardening, aquaponics, and composting located in Quezon City.
Rivero said that when they plant vegetables in their backyard, it somehow relieves their stress and anxiety about the growing crisis, so they want to share the same experience with others.
Last March 26, Rivero and her husband decided to give free seeds, seedlings, and cuttings to their neighbors to encourage them to grow their own food at home as well. Rivero posted about the endeavor, saying, “I’m not capable of donating food or money, but I can try to influence my neighbors to grow some vegetables. One seed packet, seedling or cutting at a time.”
The seeds, seedlings, and cuttings they gave away were from their personal stash and from the supplies they have for their workshops.
Since they don’t have the ability to give harvested vegetables to all their neighbors, this is their way to help them start growing their own vegetables that they can cook for themselves. Sharing the seeds with their neighbors will also help to at least reduce the population in the markets and grocery stores, Rivero said.
They displayed their giveaways in front of their house and they also attached a poster on the gate of their subdivision and their house for their neighbors to see.
They gave away seeds, seedlings, and cuttings of the vegetables that they usually plant such as bitter gourd, basil, cabbage, squash, water spinach, and more.
According to Rivero, she will be buying seeds to give away to other neighbors and that they will continue giving as much as they can.
Photos from Precious Ortega Rivero